Injured Nonu ready to 'move on'
Wed, 29 Jan 2014 07:53
Hopefully 2014 will be a better year for me
Ma'a Nonu admitted that the Blues fans may not embrace him after his highly publicised walk-out on the franchise in 2012.
The return to action of the veteran midfielder, who re-joined the Blues squad this week along with the rest of the All Blacks, will be delayed by an injury.
However, he is "excited" about being back at the franchise and hope to silence his critics - and the wavering fans - by doing his talking on the field.
The 31-year-old made the move back to the Blues for the 2014 Super Rugby season after playing for the Highlanders in 2013.
Following another impressive campaign with the All Blacks at the end of last year, where he continued prove himself as one of the best midfielders in New Zealand, Nonu said he was highly motivated to perform for the Blues.
"It's good to be back, it's exciting times and I can't wait," Nonu said.
"I'm pretty motivated, I'm really excited about the challenges ahead and I'm excited to be back in this group."
However, Blues fans might not see Nonu back on the playing field for another month.
The dreadlocked wrecking ball had a clean-up on his ankle at the end of last year and may miss the first couple of competition games.
"I had a bit of a tidy up in the off-season, I'm starting to run hopefully in the next couple of weeks at full speed and I just want to get things right and don't want it injured again," Nonu said.
And Nonu has the full backing of head coach John Kirwan.
Kirwan welcomed the All Black back into the fold and said, as with all the returning players, getting them in peak condition was the key priority.
"I want Ma'a to be well physically," Kirwan said.
"His well-being is the most important thing so we'll get him right and then we just want him to play when he's ready. He wants to play but I'm just going to hold him back."
Nonu's split with the Blues in 2012 was highly publicised after he walked away from the franchise, but Kirwan said that was all water under the bridge and it was great to have him back.
"He's been fantastic, his communication has been outstanding and he wants to play, it's just that we need to make sure that he's 100 per cent fit just like we do with everyone else in the team."
Nonu conceded he was unsure whether Blues fans would embrace him after chequered seasons with the Hurricanes, Blues and Highlanders, but said he just had to do his talking on the field to win them back.
"I guess it's been in the back of my mind. Hopefully 2014 will be a better year for me in Super Rugby. I can't look back on previous experiences, I've just got to move on.
"I'm not sure (whether I'll be embraced by Blues fans), I hope so. I've just got to perform on the field."
The Blues play their first pre-season match against the Hurricanes in Masterton on Saturday- with Benji Marshall poised to play his first game of Rugby Union at No.10.
The team to face the Hurricanes will be named on Thursday.
Source: Blues media unit
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